Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called on Russia to help resolve the 2 countries' territorial issue, for the sake of regional peace, stability, and economic development.
Abe delivered a speech on Friday at an international economic forum hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg.
Abe said Russia's economic growth will be beneficial to all its neighbors, including Japan, and will also greatly contribute to the global economy.
He said a peace treaty between Japan and Russia is necessary to realize a grand vision for regional peace and development.
Abe asked for Russia's cooperation in resolving the dispute, over what Japan calls the Northern Territories, so that the 2 countries can conclude a peace treaty.
The Japanese government maintains that the 4 Russian-held islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.
Abe is due to hold a summit with Putin in Moscow on Saturday. It will be the 21st meeting between them.
The Japanese prime minister is also hoping that progress will be made on a plan to conduct joint economic activities on the 4 islands, as that would be a step toward the resolution of the territorial issue.